The Pop Inn / Exit One (Platt Lane, Rusholme)

"Third Finger, Left Hand ..."

Situated over the Co-op, the Pop Inn was owned by Harry Flood, who operated dancing classes at the venue mid-week. Similar to Browns, it had a coffee/coke bar - succumbing to booze when numbers began to eventually dwindle. Fond memories of "highballs" (coke and milk shake flavouring) and a mix of coke and milk!

Resident DJ was Mark Jones (Mark Joenz) - who is still very much on the scene - whose father Tony was the Manager. 

Sister club opened in Wythenshawe called Soul Staxx.

Fond memories - I can still feel the atmosphere of the club every time I hear "Third finger, left hand".

In Alan Lawson's book "It happened in Machester" I found a reproduction of an ad for a "Beatarama Dance" at the Co-op Hall, Platt Lane, featuring Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Freddie and the Dreamers, Danny and the Dominators and The Rocking Slaves of Babylon.

Obviously the venue had a life before "The Pop Inn" but way outside my knowledge. Can anyone assist?

Just heard that the club is still functioning - now as a Social Club for the local Pakistani community.


As you went through the double doors on the ground floor for the first time you were met with what can only be described as..OMG as you scraped your jaw off the tiled floor. Lit by a couple of fluorescent tubes a wide staircase lay before you. The walls being covered with a floral type anaglyptic wall paper that was heavily painted….. PUCE. The effect being akin to that like the aftermath of a wine drinkers convention. Nobody owned up to the colour scheme.

Sometimes you paid your entrance at the bottom of the stairs… but mostly at the top. As you walked up the staircase to join the queue of eager dancers the strains of Motown, R&B and pop music filled your ears. The owners had just opened up another part of the ‘club’ – on the other side of the landing. In there were wooden seats for those who fancied a quiet chat – with the opposite sex. To the right a ‘light refreshment’ bar… and there .. in the far left hand corner ..perched about eight foot off the floor – a television…. Now THAT was cool. No other club in Manchester (that I was aware of) had such a thing… and just in time for the final episodes of The Fugitive (shown around 1969 in the UK).

Keep to the left… keep to the left… don’t stray off the musical path …into the main room … and the dancing.

The television room wasn’t the only ‘change’ the Pop Inn was to see between 1967 and (about) 1969. Once where there was just a ‘refreshment bar’ plonked on the back wall (over the entrance).. changes were made and raised seating area’s to the back corners were installed with a balustrade (alright… a wooden ornate rail) attached and walk-down to the dance floor. The refreshment area was brought forward and also began to sell coffee.. again no expense spared with the see through partition separating the ‘bar’ from the dance area… nice touch that.

The naked bottom half of the walls which encircled the many dancers were now covered in wood panelling… hey that was real luxury back in the 60’s…. and on the stage.

Mark Jonez was stood behind a wheeled market stall? (or something like that). This was moved onto the dance floor for some live acts.

As if that was enough, something happened in either early Spring or late Autumn at the Pop Inn that (unforeseen) was to change many many peoples outlook on dancing. Not at first.. but the repercussions would still be felt nearly forty years later.

It was at that (either) time that a dance choreography competition was arranged. The Choreographer(s) were to make up a dance over a fortnight and they would have to perform it ‘with another person’ on the stage. They could even choose their own music.

Hang on a minute…. TWO people were needed to do the dance???... like dancing together.. in unison.. doing the same thing… but isn’t that called……………Line dancing. – ‘Well !! slap my thighs and call me Maurice’ – and not a single Yeee Haww in sight.

Hang on another minute… but Linedancing came from America.. and didn’t we see ‘The Bus Stop’ in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. Of course you did….. but we in Manchester didn’t call it Line dancing some (cough cough) nine years earlier did we… we just danced because we loved dancing… had no time to give this type of dancing a name.

I am NOT saying that it was the Pop Inn in Manchester 1968 where Modern Line Dancing started… I AM saying Manchester had at least one Choreographed (and later published) something like SEVEN years before the ‘first’ Linedance ‘The Bus Stop’ was choreographed.

Also at the time, at places like Browns of Levenshulme and Stretford there were other ‘line/circle’ dances being enjoyed.. but based on the Barn Dance.. one of the most favourite tracks being ‘We Gotta Get Outta This Place’ by the Animals..

I digress… back to the Pop Inn.. that particular competition was won by Pete Browne and Jean Dawson. (certainly no disrespect to either Pete or Jean – we’ve all gotta meet up again one day.. and go through the routines..) But it’s the dance that came second that has created the ‘buzz’.. a buzz that is still reverberating today… and one that a great number of Guru’s in todays line dancing world cannot bring themselves around to admitting exists. In fact a lot of them STILL don’t believe that Manchester had anybody capable of putting any sort of dance together… most of these Guru’s are from … darrrn sarrrf… you gotta feel sorry them really.
The dance in question was called (at a later date) ’30 Something’ and by today’s standards.. its pretty basic. ..except that it had moves that are in most of today’s dances… and it went in two directions (ie danced facing 12 and 6 o’clock alternately) … again ‘unique’ for any dance of that time.

The dance was choreographed by two people, one of which has already been ‘found’ (alive… lol)… whilst the other who went by the name of Linda appears to be more elusive. In fact so elusive that after nearly six years of Newpaper adverts, web site notice boards and the such .. all over the World, even the local tv station ‘channel m’ got in on the subject as well as massive page headlines in the Manchester Evening News … she hasn’t still come forward (or has anyone with a contact number).

You may think that ‘Linedancing’ is a bit ‘naff’… but there are clubs called ‘Soul Line’ over the Manchester area (where it all began??) who ‘Line dance’ to Motown, old and new R&B, Northern Soul even kitsch Disco…you don’t know what you are missing.

Mike Taylor

Great times at the Pop Inn. My first love was Dave Kelly, the dj who was killed in a car accident. Loved to dance that great dance, the Ritz Rythmn, with those amazing guys Pete and Eamon Brown. Loved those bouncers in black suits as I came up the stairs.

I met my husband on the dance floor when I was 14 - short hair, long leather coat. Loved boys in Parkers with white scooters. Great times.

I live in Los Angeles with Chris (my husband), 3 kids and 2 grandchildren.

You can take the girl from Manchester but you can't take Manchester from the girl. Thankyou for the memories.

Pamela I won the Miss Pop Inn competition in 1967. I was only 13 but they all thought I was 17. I still have my sash - loved every bit of it.

I now live in Ireland - fourty years now but I think I'm the true Miss Pop Inn

I remember hugging Tony Jones (manager) the day Otis Redding died.

Katrina Everitt - 13/7/09

Gosh! I couldn't believe I found a page for 'The Pop Inn' and the last person to make an entry was my long lost BEST FRIEND - Katrina (Pany) Everitt.

I went in the 19'60s met my first love there - Andy P and had a smashing time. Hope someone out there remembers me!!

I'm married and living in Edinburgh now but would love to hear from folk from these good old days.

Valerie Croydon - 25/1/10

What great evening we all had me and me mates. All dancing in line to Alright Now, Three Dog Night, Motown, etc. Remember a drink called Dragons blood.

Me, all me mates - Pete and Steve Waters. Jimmy Maher (County Cork), Pat O'Mahney, Gary Almond (with his yellow scooter), Chris Bowen (from london), Billy Harris, Calvin Culpepper and sisters.

Many more whose names long gone - and the girl who broke my heart (Ann Edwards) - who I know be checking this out. Great nights.

Noel Lanata - 7/2/10

Wow, I loved the Pop Inn, it was one of the first clubs I went to along with my friends from Ducie Avenue School. Barbara Heath, Eunice Davies, Lynne Turner, Paul Rainford, Trev Henry, Paul Chrimes.

Other mates Jayne Francis, Denise Harvey, Dominic Carroll and yes Noel Lanata, lol, I'm sorry I didn't know I'd broken your heart. 

Fantastic memories x

Ann Bull Edwards - 26/2/10

I am disappointed that you didn't mention who came third in the dance competition. It was myself and my best friend Bernadette Brown, who just happens to be the sister of the 1st place winner, Pete Brown. Amazing memories of the Pop Inn. Mark Jones and I became quite close friends although eventually we lost touch. Have been living in Australia for the past 30 years but still have ties in Manchester.

Cherryll Scott - 4/3/10

The Pop Inn was the first club/disco I ever went to in 1967. I remeber the name of the first girl I ever danced with, Helen Gee. I think she went to Wilbraham High School. It was a brilliant place, I can shut my eyes and remember it and almost smell it. 

At the same time we used to go to St Bernadettes on Princess Parkway..."third finger left hand"..."knock on wood"..."higher and higher"...!! 

After that I 'progressed' to the Twisted Wheel, Tabernacle, Takis, Top of the Town, Spring Gardens....etc. Much later Placemate and Cellar Vie.

It's a long time ago and I live a long way away now but the memories are fresh....Helen Gee...and MUFC!

Ronnie Aston - 16/3/10

As my husband Pete is 60 this week and thats where we met, we have been talking about the Pop Inn and reviving old memories. I remember the dance competition, it was exiting for us at the time and we were all in awe of Pete Brown and Jean Dawson and the music was by Ramsay Lewis, 'Wade in the Water'. Love that and think about that time every time I hear it. 

I went to Ducie Ave and loads of us went to the Pop Inn, still in touch with quite a few people from that time and we still live in Manchester and pass the building often. 

As I said we met at the Pop Inn, we think in 1967 and we will have been married for 40 years next year but every time we hear the music we are sixteen again. Pete Denham is 60 this week and we will be dancing away to the music. Amazing how no alchohol was served although I can remember having a sneaky drink before we went in.

Ev Denham - 22/9/10

OMG Noel Lanata - how many hearts did you break, mine included. Loved the Pop Inn. It was our club, no oldies allowed.

I won Miss Mini Skirt there in 1969 - 15 but look a bit older, I think.

Good days - I wish I could go back to them days. Some names on here I remember well. Get in touch if you remember me ..,

Mary O'connor - 7/2/11

In the late 1960's my sister Suzanne and I (Longstaff) always went to the fabulous Pop Inn. I remember her always entering the dance comps and coming third one year. We always dressed alike and had these fab glitter trouser suits. The music was great and so was the company. We loved the place. Great memories.

Carol Beirne - 14/2/11

Although it is nearly forty four years ago I remember going to the opening night of the Pop Inn in 1967 like as if was yesterday. Previously we were going to Browns in Levenshulme and St Bernadettes on Friday nights but the Pop Inn was new and we met lot's of new friends from all over - Hulme, Rusholme, Moss Side, Stretford, Chorlton cum Hardy, Longsight, Stockport.

Those days we had no money, no scooters, cars, no alcohol, no drugs and we had more fun. Within a couple of years we got a taste for a drink, had a bit more money and then started heading into town - Twisted Wheel, Takis, Smiths,Top of the Town and Sainsbury's to name a few.

But suprisingly enough the time at the Pop Inn will not be forgotten and the great friends we made. Jean Dawson, Sue Roberts, Helen Gee, Sue Wiseman, Cheryl Scott, Akkers, Fatman, Tony Adams, Dave Swindles, Barny O'Niel, Ticky Timeman, Ticky Boardman were all great friends of the Browne family.So sad to have Dave Kelly and Tony Gregory both taken from us at an early age.

I agree Jean Dawson and Pete Browne did a great job of dancing to the Ramsey Lewis song Wade in the Water and best on the night.
The one song that always reminds me of the Pop Inn is Jimmy Mack.
Great to read other people can remember that far back too.

Eamonn Browne, Brisbane, Australia - 6/3/11

Wow. Eamonn Browne told me about this site - it brings back so many wonderful memories. Sue Roberts and I are still great friends. I live in Altrincham and would love to hear from anybody who remembers me. 

Jean Dawson (now Jean Cox) - 11/5/11

I left Ducie Tech in 1967 & used to go to the Pop Inn at least 3 times a week with 5 friends ... Sheila Mather, Viv Langhorn,Sheila Pitt, Viv Robinson, Margaret ? Also Linda Hodson & others from school.

Some other friends won the pj comp....did they have to dance to Jimmy Mack!!

What great memories ... pity there weren't any videos!

Gill Battersby - 19/7/11

I remember Pete Browne from the Pop Inn and the Wheel. At one time we had a lot of grief from bikers around Rusholme,so one night a very large gang of us led by Pete went around the area looking to sort them out.We came across a couple of small groups,outnumbering them by about 5-1.After that they left us alone.

The opening night got a bit shambolic when an attempt to do the barn dance failed massively.The DJ,Raz, came from Browns, but didn't last long.

Mike Cooney - 20/7/11

I have been trying to find info and memories about the Pop Inn for years now !

Love the stories on here although I don't remember any dancing competitions sorry : (I think I started going around 1970 /71).

The first song I ever heard in there was Lou Christie I'm gonna make you mine' and everytime I hear it it takes me right back there!

Also remember Tich' never knew his real name and Micky Cooper dancing to Funky Street - they were THE BEST !

Remember drinking Dragons blood and 'Arf and Arfer I think it was most likely just blacurrant juice and lemonade !!

I used to go there with my sister Catherine, friends Val Ogden, Kim Atkinson, Teresa Dragu,n Maxine Pamplin (who I believe married Dominic Carrol) also with Herbert and Johnny Pearson, Jimmy Ansbro, Michael O Keefe (who now lives in Canada). I remember also Alex Keane? from Crofton Street and Danny Miller ....

Ooh thanks for the memories people :)

Anne O'Keefe nee Donohue - 2/10/11

Remember the Pop Inn well. Used to go there - all the girls n guys from Nicholls Ardwick High School. Great memories dancing in a row.

Who remembers the little black boy - great singer and dancer in a group 1968 ... anyone remembers the name? Looked like Michael Jackson, very young and we all were dumbfounded how this little boy could sing and dance. Any ideas ? Cheers - great site. 

Lorraine Cohen (nee Graham) - 28/1/12

I think I was 14 when I started going to The Pop Inn. Every Wednesday night. Lovely memories. I actually fell inlove for the first time with a half cast guy called Harry, he used to wear this beige suit jacket ... very very handsome.

Susan Osman - 24/3/12

Ahhh.. Cherryll - my apologies in not remembering your name. The Circle is now almost complete.

I knew Pete and Jean being the winners.. and I dont think they got their prize - was it a weekend away somewhere ?

I asked Pete a while back if he remembered the dance they did.. he couldnt - but I could remember parts of it. The music we chose for our day was a classic Soul number called 'That old time feeling' by Roy Redmond. Can Cherryll remember her music and her dance I wonder.

I knew Linda and I were second... and now we have you Cherryll.. all the 'winners'. Well, all barring one - Linda, that is. I made a long search for this Girl a few years, Advertised in the 'Evening News, Web Sites.. even did a Radio interview. I even did a 'door to door' around the Ravensbury Avenue.

Now whether Linda knew it or not.. or maybe didnt want to know... but she is part of Linedance History. I actually made contact with Jean Cox (Dawson) quite a while back through Peter.. but I think Jean may have thought I was a crank or something.

I still dance.. but a little further afield: Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Sararwak and Australia. Interestingly, on my last tour in September-October I was asked to perform and teach that very dance both Linda and I did on the stage all those years ago.

Mike Taylor - 2/4/12

I used to go all the time toThe Pop Inn. My twin sister went out with Micky Cooper one of the best dancers along with Titch. They were great. We danced our heads off. Freda Payne's Band of Gold got all the girls on the dance floor. Top top place and never to be forgotten and Maine Road round the corner . . What could be better :) Jo Robinson

I used to go to Pop In with my twin Joanne. Mickey Cooper was my first boyfriend and he could dance..His mate was Titch and all the girls loved him. We were skinheads then and loved going in our Crombies and two tones. We went every Friday and if my Mum and Dad had have found out the they would have haf a fit! Such good times. Loved the place x 

Suzanne Robinson - 25/5/12

This is where I nurtured my love for loud music, dancing, soul music,and much more, they didnt have a bar so me and Janice would drink a bottle of QC sherry on the bus. I can remember thinking Mark Jones was Famous - what a brilliant DJ he was. God Im 60 now and still rockin (but on a ragga trip now).

We used to go every week and spent New Years Eve there. I can remember walking backwards up all the stairs to make it right walking forewards in the New Year.

I'm in the Isle of Wight now!!!

Linda Meszynski - 27/8/12

Enjoyed reading all the comments about The Pop Inn. However, I may be a freak of nature, 'cos I may be the only person here who used to go to The Pop Inn and Harry Flood's School of Dancing at the same time. Remember too half coke half milk drink, Arfurs half, also still remember the sad and sudden loss of members of The Exits, the local soul group who often performed there, in an accident.

Tunji Thomas - 14/11/12

Me, Yan Mozejko, Mike Rigney, Billy Peters and John Carey all used to look forward to going to the Pop Inn. Great music and there was a lot of people who met their first loves there. top atmosphere plus when you went inside you more or less knew everyone there. Happy times - great dance moves. Shame it all had to end but time moves on

George Beswick - 14/11/12

I (Susan Wynne) used to go here with my friends ( Christine Knowles and Lynn Trowman, think my cousin Linda Wain used to come as well ) loved it, danced to funky chicken, Jimmy Mack, drank dragons blood, many happy memories. It was BRILL xxx

Susan McNulty - 24/12/13

I used to go here with my friend Margaret and we also drank dragons blood ha omg so many memories of the place. I grew up around rusholme but sad to say I wouldn't like to be growing up round there now. 

Patrica Kinch - 6/1/13

The Pop Inn was in Platt Lane, Rusholme, Manchester 14 and opened in 1967. The Pop Inn was situated over the Co-op and owned by Henry Flood, who operated dance classes at the venue mid-week. It had earlier been called something else, but I don't know its name. The sister club was The Soul Staxx at 64 Fountain Street off Market Street, Manchester 2 opened in Late 1966. This club had opened as The Beat City opened on Friday, August 28, 1964 with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders​, The Traders and D. J. Jimmy Savile. The D.J. was Dave Kelly who was sadly killed in a car accident. The resident D.J. was Mark Jonez (b. Mark Jones), whose father Tony Jones was manager of the club. This club later became Exit One in 1968.

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